A Birmingham magistrate and his former partner have been jailed for the manslaughter of a two-year-old girl who died of septic shock after she was scalded in a shower.
Jurors at Nottingham Crown Court unanimously convicted Rashpal Chana, 49, of Dibble Road, Smethwick, and the girl’s mother Eva Logina, 26, of High Street, Smethwick, following the death of Kristiana Logina, on February 15 last year.
Logina was also found guilty of a charge of child cruelty between February 2009 and February last year. The pair had denied the charges.
Jailing Chana for four-and-a half-years and Logina for six years for manslaughter and 12 months for child cruelty, to run concurrently, Mrs Justice Dobbs said: “It is always a tragedy when a young life is cut short, more so if it is because of the actions, or lack of actions, of the parents.”
The month-long trial had been told that Kristiana died after suffering severe burns to 20 per cent of her body when she was held under the scalding shower which could have reached a maximum of 58 degrees at the house the couple shared in Tennal Road, Harborne.
Logina and Chana, who claimed not to realise Kristiana was badly injured, applied creams and bandages to her wounds, but never took her to be assessed and treated by medical professionals, the court heard.
In his opening speech to the jury, Timothy Raggatt, QC, alleged that the toddler's life could have been saved if the defendants had sought medical treatment.
At the start of the trial, Mr Raggatt told the jury of five women and seven men that Kristiana was injured between 10 days and a fortnight before her death and eventually died in the paediatric intensive care unit at Birmingham Children's Hospital.
He said: "The nature and extent of the injuries that she sustained were such that it would have been, or should have been, instantly apparent that she required urgent medical treatment.
"The direct cause of her death was something known by the medical profession as septic shock. Septic shock means this - it is that your body becomes so infected and debilitated that your organs and vital systems stop working.
"It's one of the awful tragedies of this case that her death was completely avoidable and, had she received medical treatment at or around the time of those injuries, she would have survived."
Chana, who showed little emotion as sentence was passed, was not present when the scalding occurred, was charged with manslaughter by omission after Kristiana died.
The 49-year-old has also worked in the past as a teacher and an academic, receiving the Queen's Award for services to the science community while seconded to Keele University in Staffordshire.
Sentencing Chana, Mrs Justice Dobbs said his actions appeared to have been a "gross aberration.
"It seems quite clear that you were in a relationship by that time that you didn't want to be in," the judge said.
Although Mrs Justice Dobbs accepted that there was no evidence that the initial injuries were caused deliberately, she said Kristiana's mother had then acted selfishly because she feared her daughter may be taken away if she sought medical help.
The judge told Logina: "It's always a tragedy when a young life is cut short.
"One cannot escape the fact that the underlying reason for your not seeking medical help was a selfish one."
Kristiana would have suffered serious pain and discomfort over 10 to 12 days, the judge added.
The trial was told that Kristiana, whose mother is originally from Latvia, died after suffering 20-25% burns to her lower body.
Offering mitigation on behalf of Logina, Michael Duck QC described her as somebody with a complicated past who had suffered from depression.
Recent contact between Logina and social services meant that she feared she would lose her daughter if she was treated by doctors, Mr Duck said.
Roger Thomas QC, defending Chana, submitted that there had been little affection between the defendants, who were together for around three months.
"He is finished as far as any career or teaching is concerned," said Mr Thomas, who added that his client had clearly succeeded in the fields of teaching and science.
Chana, who served as a magistrate in Birmingham, and Logina were arrested by officers from West Midlands Police's public protection unit at Birmingham's Ladywood police station in February last year.
Commenting on the case, Detective Inspector Bob Sutton, said: "This has been a very lengthy and difficult investigation.
"A two-year-old girl lost her life in the most tragic circumstances after suffering complications, having been scalded by hot water at the hands of her mother.
"The most distressing thing is that the court heard how Kristiana's life could well have been saved had Logina and Chana sought medical help immediately. However, they left it for several days and by then her condition was so severe it ultimately caused her death.
"I hope that the sentences the couple have today received offers some comfort to relatives, whilst also sending a clear message that no one is above the law."
In a short statement, the Office for Judicial Complaints said: "Mr Rashpal Chana, a magistrate on the Birmingham Bench, has refrained from sitting since the death of Kristiana Logina in February 2010.
"In light of his conviction and sentence, consideration will now be given to his removal from the magistracy."